Dallas City Council Approves New Pilot Program for Parklets

At its December 9th session, the Dallas City Council approved the Street Seats program, which allows for private or public parklet options and the use of up to two roadside parking spaces.

“This approval is Dallas ‘s semi-permanent parklet seating solution, which includes options for restaurants and retail stores, as well as a public option (no grocery or liquor) that can be activated as a traditional parklet,” said Rosa Fleming, director of Dallas’ Convention and Event services.

The program has evolved, some of which have resulted in benefits for restaurants, says consultant Amanda Popken.

“This pilot that the city had before the COVID hit had some requirements [changed] for this new program, and I think it will make it a lot more flexible, especially in terms of how restaurants want to use it, ”said Popken, congressional chairman for New Urbanism North Texas. “There are two models – privately owned or publicly owned Parklet for anyone who wants to sit there or park their bike.

“The pilot was designed for a public space, so that a private company, for example, could not apply for a TABC permit. Now it is public or private space. “

After the city published a call for proposals, it signed a contract with Better Block to design the parklets for those participating in the program.

The city’s Convention and Events Services – Office of Special Events will begin accepting and processing applications that can be filled out online starting February 4th.

The registration fee is $ 500 and the installation fee is $ 500. There is an additional $ 1,000 refundable security deposit to secure removal. No more than one street seat permit may be issued on a given block without written support from additional stakeholders. You are only allowed in an unrestricted parking lane next to the curb on a street with permanent parking and a specified speed limit of 30 miles per hour or less.


A representation of the upcoming permanent parklet in Veracruz shows space for bicycle parking and restaurant seating.

DSGN Associates, Inc.

Popken, who lives in Oak Cliff, also worked with Councilor Chad West – a constant advocate of parklets – on the first permanent parklet in the Bishop Arts District.

The parklet, slated to be ready on December 22nd, isn’t a COVID hub, however – it’s been in the works for two years.

They received a grant from the North Central Texas Governing Council, were approved to begin a year later, and met with city officials in July 2019 to start the process as part of the transportation’s pilot program. This was changed to the COVID Temporary Parklet program (which didn’t work because the group had the scholarship and it needed to be more permanent).

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“I hope it (and the Streets Seats pilot) will start a conversation across town about what permanent parklet installations can do for companies in the long term to bring the life of our city to the streets,” says Popken. “This could be the only good thing that comes out of this insane pandemic situation.

“We know there is a movement [Dallas-Fort Worth] and across the nation where the demand for walkable, urban places is increasing, and so we see that these places are so much more expensive than other parts of the city and the only solution is to keep building more walkable, urban places ” Says Popken.

Yes, Bishop Arts is expensive – having a business, renting an apartment, paying property taxes – because its infrastructure was built to be attractive to so many people. If there are more neighborhoods behind city funding with that intent, that demand will be met in more parts of Dallas, reducing the pressure on a specific part of the city, such as. B. Bishop Arts, decreased.

“Sometimes when you talk about removing cars, people are scared,” says Popken. “But the more we focus our energy on improving micro-mobility and improving beautiful places we enjoy moving, the more our lifestyle can shift in a nicer and more enjoyable direction that doesn’t require being isolated in cars . “

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Taylor Adams has been writing about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now, as the Observer’s food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news on the Dallas Morning News.

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